Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bangalore Days review: "Happy Days for the box office!!!"

May 30th, 2014...a day that I am definitely going to remember for many years to come as it marked the successful completion of my PhD Colloquium. So just as I was wondering which film to check out to relax my over worked grey cells, my eyes lit up on seeing that the eagerly awaited "Bangalore Days" was going to have a simultaneous release in Namma Bengaluru. So will the star studded cast & crew make the box office go bonkers???


PLOT:
Arjun (Dulquer Salman), a vagrant with a passion for bikes; Divya (Nazriya Nazim), a smart chirpy graduate & Krishnan (Nivin Pauly), a homesick software engineer were cousins who shared a bond so strong that they stuck with each other through thick and thin. The film unfolds with Divya being forcibly married off to Shiv Das (Fahad Fazil), thanks to her peculiar horoscope. Anywaz she settles down in Bangalore with Das & at around the same time, both her cousins also make the city as their base camp. Though Das's inconsiderate and frigid nature starts stiffling Divya, the presence of her ever supportive cousins, gave her the much needed relief. However, it wasn't smooth sailing for the other two as well with Arjun fighting the ghosts of his past while Krishnan's search for a girl of his dreams seemed much more elusive than he assumed. In short, it was not long before things spiralled out of their control...but the love, trust & concern they shared for each other enabled them to tide over every hardship.

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DIRECTION & SCRIPT:
There is no doubt that stars are crowd pullers, but the primary reason which allured me to this film was Anjali Menon. All three of her previous ventures were excellent as her scripting skills exhibited her ability to judge the pulse of the audience. In her latest venture as well, she has captured the various hues of relationships in an impressive manner be it the camaraderie between the cousins, Das's apathy towards Divya, Arjun's mental turmoil, Krishnan's realization of the callousness of his mother towards the past etc. What made all of these to actually click is that Anjali never resorted to making the scenes melodramatic but it does manage to tug our heart strings in a subtle manner. Anjali's choice of locales was fantastic & she made sure that all the events gelled well culminating in an engaging and exquisitely picturised climax. The film also have its drawbacks as its a shade too long at close to 3 hours as some sequences could seem dragging for quite a few.

TECHNICAL ASPECTS:
On the technical side, Samir Thahir once again reiterated that he is definitely the best cinematographer among the younger crop. The colour tones used aptly captures the mood and vibrancy of the movie. Gopi Sundar has done an average job as only the wedding song would stay with us after coming out of the hall and also the rest could have been avoided as it felt like speed breakers. 

PERFORMANCES:
Since almost all of the main characters had substance in their roles, it would be tough to say as to who was the best as Dulquer, Fahad, Nivin & Nazriya excelled in their roles. Nivin Pauly was an absolute scream as he had the masses in splits with his classic dialogues & expressions. Dulquer wins over the audience with his vagabond and defiant nature while Fahad, who seemed to be given a rather monotonous role in the first half stamps his authority toward the end in a manner which only he could do. Among the female leads, Nazriya essayed her role well along with Parwathy while Isha Talwar & Nitya Menon barely had much to do. 

Verdict: In all probability, this will be having the best initial weekend collection of the year as it caters to the requirements of the youth. The film has definitely lived upto expectations and will make a killing at the box office in all probability. In short, its not a "New Generation 20-20" but rather a well made film regarding the take on modern day relationships. So dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3.75/5

Regards...Ben



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mr Fraud review: "Far from being a hi tech heist!!!"

It's been quite a while since Lalettan had a release & so naturally there was a great deal of expectations surrounding his latest venture "Mr.Fraud" after all it was his first outing since the all time blockbuster "Drishyam". Well "Mr. Fraud" has been in the news for all the wrong reasons as the Exhibitors Association had threatened a ban on the film following a tiff with the director, B. Unnikrishnan. Finally everything has been resolved & it's now upto the audience to deliver their verdict. The promos seemed interesting but will it be able to match upto "How Old Are You"???


PLOT:
Bhaiji (Lalettan) is one of the most sought after conman who after numerous successful heists is planning to call it quits after gearing up for the biggest of them all. The opportunity comes knocking in the form of a treasure trove belonging to Adityapuram Palace, whose heirs were at loggerheads regarding the division of wealth. Bhaiji gains entry into the Palace impersonating as the legally appointed wealth evaluator & sets his plan into motion. But executing it right under the eyes of a professionally equipped security team would test his abilities to the core. So will he emerge triumphant one more time or will he falter at the final step???

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DIRECTION & SCRIPT:
After trying times, B. Unnikrishnan finally managed to get his film released, but does he deliver what he promises??? Well, for a start it is a pucca masala film & he has tried to cash in on the larger than persona of Lalettan with sly dialogues and characteristic subtle mannerisms which will have the masses whistling to glory. As for the script, though the trailer projected it to be a hi tech heist, the actual plot seemed far from it. After a pretty decent first half, the latter half loses steam with each passing minute eventually culminating in a mediocre climax.

PERFORMANCE & TECHNICAL ASPECTS:
Lalettan is the heart & soul of the film as he plays the role of the conman with elan. As for the rest of the cast, many of them were for the numbers while some of them like Siddique, Saikumar, Vijay Babu & Mia did manage to make their presence felt. As for the technical aspects, it was one of those rare films where Gopi Sundar disappointed & moreover it ebbed the flow of the film. Satheesh Kurup has done a decent job with the visuals while Manoj should have done a better editing in the latter half.

Verdict:  There is no doubt that the promos & the first release of Lalettan since "Drishyam" will have people queuing up which will ensure a more or less impressive initial. However, the lack of a credible storyline coupled with a lack lustered heist along with Manju's powerful performance in "How Old Are You" will affect the collections once the first few days are over. In short, an average time pass!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

How Old Are You review: "Manju back with a bang!!!"

Finally the month long election process has concluded & Narendra Modi has been conferred as the PM by the citizens of our great nation by an overwhelming majority. Even our Malayalam industry saw it's President, Innocent being elevated to adorn the post of MP. So it was all about politics till Friday which meant films were far & few until Manju Warrier's much anticipated comeback film "How Old Are You" graced the screens from yesterday. So can Manju script a thumping come back pretty much like how Modi thumped his detractors???


PLOT: 
Nirupama Rajeev (Manju Warrier) is a middle class woman working in a bureaucratic establishment whose tale was pretty much similar to scores of other women. For Nirupama, it was all about taking care of her household & in the process, she even forgot that she had an individuality of her own. Both her husband, Rajeev (Chackochan) & daughter, Lakshmi (Amritha Anil); fails to realize the sacrifices that she had made & considers her more as an embarrassment for them. Life seemed to take a turn for the better when she is provided with an delightful opportunity, only for fate to mess it up. So will Nirupama ever able to discover her inner self & take stock of her family before it's too late???

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DIRECTION & SCRIPT:
After the fantastic "Mumbai Police", Rosshan Andrews is back with his latest venture with Manju Warrier, who is undoubtedly one of the best actresses that our industry had seen. Since this was her comeback film, the hype and anticipation was quite palpable & understandable; but Roshan ensured that he didn't wilt under pressure by delivering the goods.There is a limit to how much a brilliant performer can enact unless he/she is ably supported by a strong script & impressive screenplay and that's where Bobby Sanjay draw aces. They have once again proved as to why they are considered as one of the best script writers in the industry. 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS:
Gopi Sundar deserves a pat on the back for his BGM & Shreya Ghoshal rocked with her rendition of "Vijanathayil". Diwakar & Mahesh Narayanan have done their jobs well be it with the editing or the visuals, however Ranjith Ambady ought to have done a better job with the make up of Manju in some of the sequences.

PERFORMANCES:
It's been about 15 years since Manju had donned the grease paint for a film, but the way she had portrayed Nirupama made us feel that she had never left as she seemed completely at ease facing the camera. I just hope that this isnt just a flash in the pan & she keeps getting meaty roles. Chackochan was fantastic in the role of Rajeev, which had a whiff of male chauvinism  about him & held his own even when it was evident that Manju was going to be the highlight. All the co-stars have done an impressive job be it Muthumani, Kalaranjini, Vinay Fort to name a few but Sethulekshmi deserves a special mention as she outscores Manju in one of the emotionally charged scenes.

Verdict:  Though Lalettan's "Mr.Fraud" will prove a tough competitor in grabbing the initial, there is no doubt that Manju's film will have a sizable crowd of its own considering the hype & talent on offer. It does not belong to the genre of thriller or suspense, but the film has something about it which make us totally involved in the film and makes us empathize with the protagonist. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben